yesterday's technology tomorrow

Monday, September 11, 2006

5 years ago I was living, temporarily, in San Francisco, specifically in my companies offices in the Dogpatch, just south of the baseball park.

I woke that fateful morning oblivious to what was happening on the other side of the world. As usual, I dressed in my running gear around 7am and headed off for a coffee and a quick run to the Bay Bridge and back.

I jogged the couple of blocks to Cup o' Blues, the fantastic coffee spot on 22nd. Walking in I remember seeing a small old TV sitting a vinyl chair in the middle of the seating area showing the WTC with one tower gone and one smoking.

I ordered my coffee and asked what was going on. "The world trade center has been hit by two planes. One tower has fallen and the other is going to".

I never did get my run done that day.

Coffee in hand I headed back to the office to tell Andrew and Kerri Lee what was happening. Knocking on doors trying to wake them. I remember feeling surprised by Andrew's response. He was so emotional about it. But not in a crying upset type of way, more like he was just really emotionally involved in it. I had only known Andrew a little while then but I've seen more of that over the years.

I was filled with aderenaline. Was SF a target? Am I safe being 3 km out of the city?

I rang Suzette. "Biggest terrorist attack ever. On Tv...". "Thanks. Do you know what time it is?" It was late at night in Australia. She went back to sleep. Rang Mum and Dad. Got the answering machine. Left a message. They woke and heard my message. They sat watching the TV for hours. Rang Adam. Left a message. He was already watching.

The day was sad. Nothing much happened. We moved the TV into the office and watched the news broadcast. Nothing much happened.

Nothing much happened at all for months afterwards. I didn't know it at the time, but the nuclear winter for technology had just started.

Afterwards I felt so sad for the children, whose parents had been lost that fateful day. Sadness to those who had wonderful loving messages left on their machines by partners, parents and children, and sadness most especially to those young children who would grow up with out fathers or mothers.

The world did change on that fateful day. From the mundane and annoying baggage checks to the unilateral engagement with imagined foes to the destruction of a comfort and way of life that was enjoyed in various parts of the world prior to Terrorism paying us a visit.

And there are positives too. Many in fact. But I find them postives I would rather have not been developed, skilled up in or found.

My children grow up in world unlike the world I grew up in. But for all the focus on the negatives of the last 5 years today, I think back to the positives of change. How our lives have been improved for the better in the last 10 years and how technology has made such a dramatic and everchanging note upon my life.

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Playground Finder Flink Labs - Data Visualisation

neuronwave is the personal site of Ben Hosken. I am the founder of Flink Labs, a data visualisation studio based in Melbourne. Previously I founded AgentArts, where I developed a recommendations system that we ultimately sold to MSFT.I have two patents, one in Recommendation Systems and one for a datamining algorithm I invented. I have a strong interest in physical computing, emergence, self organising systems, immersive games, bluetooth ad hoc networks and other fun things.
A while ago I built and ran Blog Change Bot - an AOL IM Bot which notified you when blogs you like are updated. I also built IcyPole, a bluetooth based P2P mobile phone app in 2004. With Suzette, I've built Playground Finder - a community contributed site for parents to find playgrounds nearby and while traveling for their kids to play in. Its a "playground" for my social, location, community and mobile interests.
I live in Melbourne with my wife Suzette, son Oskar Tex and my little girl Jasmine

Random Pile of Ben
Bodypump, Flink Labs, autumn weather, balance.

Downloads etc
The Best Bagel Recipe ever
iTunes XML structure
Photo of some of my best Panetones

Neuron EcoSystem
Flink Labs
oskartex.comOskar Tex
JasmineJasmine Aurora
Playground Finder


ben at neuronwave dot com